This is becoming a disturbing pattern. For the past several weekends, I've awoken to a wet and gloomy day. That provides plenty of inspiration to write about "Where I'd rather be," but I'd much prefer to be here
on a warm and sunny day, than be somewhere else in my mind.
Nevertheless, I have to play the cards I was dealt, so once again we get to travel virtually together to some far-off spot. Actually, for some of you, this may be a virtual trip no further than your own backyard; because today, I'm going back to my hometown of San Diego, known as "America's Finest City."
I browsed the web for photos to post here, and came across the following aerial shot. It'll serve as an orientation shot for our travels, so take a look:
This shot effectively captures the heart of what I love most about San Diego: the beaches and water, and the countless hours of fun that they both offer. In this photo, you can see the long Mission and Pacific Beaches on the ocean side, the many little bays that make up Mission Bay Park just to the east (right), and the sloping hill of La Jolla toward the north (top of the photo).
On the beach side, a concrete "boardwalk" parallels the beach for about four miles. This path provides endless recreation for bicyclists, joggers, skaters and pedestrians. The personality of the boardwalk changes as you follow its entire stretch, so it's easy to find a part of the beach that suits what you're looking for: rowdiness, peace & quiet, athletics, and so on. And at regular intervals, you'll find restaurants, bars, taco shops, stores and more. At the far southern end of the strip (where the beach widens at the bottom of the aerial photo), an array of public beach volleyball courts planted in the sand offers a fun way to spend an afternoon.
On the other side of the narrow strip of beach cottages, you'll find Mission Bay Park
. To me, this is the crown jewel of San Diego (not La Jolla, whose name literally means "the jewel"). This man-made aquatic park, covering more than 4,000 acres, contains many little hidden bays, each with its own personality and use. There's Sail Bay (pictured below), for use by sailboats; Ski Beach, where motorized watercraft can play (and where they hold the annual Thunderboat Regatta); Fiesta Island, an undeveloped area where the Over-the-Line Tournament is held; Tecolote Shores, a family-friendly area with picnic tables and grass lawns; and much, much more. One of my favorite activities is to spend the day riding the approximately 20-mile perimeter of Mission Bay, nearly all of which is bounded by a bike path (also visible in the picture below).
Just to the north of Pacific Beach and Mission Bay, the coastline changes from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs. While the topography is less appealing to sunbathers, it's perfect for scuba diving (since the same rocky shore continues below the surface, creating an excellent reef structure). The bluffs also offer picturesque scenery, which is probably why many of San Diego's millionaires live in expensive estates overlooking the ocean. La Jolla Cove (pictured below) is the most well-known spot, as it offers a small beach and easy, sheltered access to the ocean.
I may yet return to my beautiful hometown, but for now, writing about it made for a fun virtual escape back to a playground of sand and sun.